I call this influence intentional Christian living. By that I mean we are living out the guidelines and commands of the Scripture, intentionally and purposefully. Spiritual lethargy results in a Christian lifestyle that is haphazard and lazy; our commitment as Christians is to live a lifestyle that models Christ. We are not to look like or act like other people; rather, we are to look like Christ. We are to act like Christ. We are to do the things that Christ would do in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit.
The intentional Christian life is powered by the Holy Spirit and motivates us into a lifestyle contrary to everything around us in our culture. We are, as a former generation taught, a separated people; we are separated from the world unto God.
~A. W. Tozer~
Today’s Thoughts: Who is Like Our God?
Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. - Micah 7:18-19
Have you ever known anyone who truly delights in mercy? Think about it for a moment. How many of us really enjoy extending mercy to others? I am not talking about the kind of mercy that we give in times of need or extend to someone because we feel sorry for them. I am talking about the kind of mercy that the Lord extends to us on a continual basis. And not only does the Lord grant us this mercy, but also the Bible says He loves to do it. Isaiah 30:18 says the Lord waits (or longs) to be gracious to us. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how good God is to us. There is no one like our God.
We also need to be reminded of something else concerning our awesome God: He pardons our iniquities and casts our sins into the depths of the sea. He remembers them no more (Isaiah 43:25). So often, we are the ones who hold on to our sins, not God. We are the ones who condemn ourselves, not God. We are the ones who judge ourselves harshly, not God. And, we are the ones who cannot forgive ourselves, but God does. Jesus says that we are to come to His throne of grace with boldness and to take His mercy with the love to which it is extended to us. Jesus died for us so that we may live in freedom, knowing that all of our sins are forgiven, even the ones we have yet to commit.
To our friends, We pray that today can be a new day for you. We pray that you will accept God's mercy and grace with open arms. We pray that you, in turn, will begin to delight in doing the same for others. We pray that you will fall in love with this awesome God who truly does delight in forgiving all of your sins and waits just to be kind and gracious to you. Ask the Lord to open your heart to receive His mercy and take hold of all that He has for you.
~Daily Disciples Devotional~
Today, I want to highlight for you the third area where the devil will seek to cause you to fail when you are on the verge of a breakthrough. It is found in Matthew 4:8-11,
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
If you think about it, the devil offered Jesus exactly what He had come to this world to obtain. Jesus came to win the kingdoms of this world to our God.
And the devil is saying, "Hey, You can take a shortcut. I will give You what You want. You don't have to do it God's way. You may have to compromise Your integrity, but think of how quickly You will succeed! You can even avoid the whole sacrifice thing! You don't have to do it God's way."
Listen, anytime God has set a goal for you, and you are going to obtain something, the devil will always come and try to get you to compromise and offer you substitutes.
He will tempt you by saying things like, "You can get what you want without living by all those narrow, restrictive rules that God puts on people's lives. You can be dishonest; you can be unfaithful; you can compromise; and you can still be blessed, and you can still be happy."
Do not believe him for a moment. His way of compromise leads only to ruin!
The Lord’s angelic messenger came back again, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, for otherwise you won’t be able to make the journey.”—1 Kgs 19:7
And what did God do with His tired servant? Gave him something good to eat, and put him to sleep. Elijah had done splendid work, and had run alongside of the chariot in his excitement, and it had been too much for his physical strength, and the reaction had come on, and he was depressed. The physical needed to be cared for. What many people want is sleep, and the physical ailment attended to. There are grand men and women who get where Elijah was—under the juniper tree! and it comes very soothingly to such to hear the words of the Master: “The journey is too great for thee, and I am going to refresh you.” Let us not confound physical weariness with spiritual weakness.
“I’m too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
Said one, as the over-taxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought by my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.
“Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without an asking if I may,
Without ever trying to trust and pray?
“Will God forgive you? why think, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did a mother deny you needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?
“Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she set her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?
“Ah, how quick was her mother love to see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you’ve grown too tired to trust and pray,
When over-wrought nature has quite given way:
“Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on a mother’s breast,
He knows all about it—the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;
“Without even asking if you may,
God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges not solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.
“He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust,
And He knows, too, the limits’ of poor weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,
“When He bade them sleep and take their rest,
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed—
You’ve given your life up to Him to keep,
Then don’t be afraid to go right to sleep.”
~L. B. Cowman~
The Pattern for Servanthood
In the world's thinking, great men are the ones with authority, prominence, and power. Though Jesus Christ had all that, He gave it up to become a servant (Isa. 42:1).
Jesus gave Himself completely to fulfill the Father's plan of redemption, even though the beneficiaries—namely, each of us—were undeserving. God is holy and righteous, and He cannot be in the presence of sin. Therefore, He must separate Himself from those who are stained by wrongdoing. That includes all of humanity (Rom. 3:23).
Everybody is born captive to the desires of the flesh (Rom. 6:16-18). When someone claims to be living on his "own terms," he is actually serving whatever his human nature craves. The penalty for that false sense of liberty is death (Rom. 6:23).
Jesus' ultimate act of service was to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). The word describes the price paid to set a slave free—Christ voluntarily purchased our liberation. There was only one way our holy God could remove our guilt yet remain true to His own law: Someone sinless had to pay our sin debt for us.
Jesus' sacrifice spared us the penalty we deserve. Instead, we receive the gift of grace and have been declared no longer guilty. Moreover, we are elevated from slaves to sons and daughters of the Almighty!
Jesus served the Father's purpose faithfully. He gave up His righteousness to carry the weight of all our wickedness—and endured a crushing separation from His Father. To meet our needs, the Savior held nothing of Himself back, and thereby set a powerful example of servanthood for us follow.
~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~